Social Security Administration Needs Severe Budget Cuts – Thomas Jefferson

By:  Columnist Bob Grafe

As a mellow senior citizen and admirer of Thomas Jefferson, I usually give my fellows at the “commons” (property owned or leased by the government for the benefit of “the public”) the benefit of the doubt by not jumping to too many quick negative conclusions about them.

However, as Thomas Jefferson once warned and my personal observation has confirmed about dealing with the Social Security Administration, “Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

That said, the “commons” at my local Social Security Administration office have become a wee bit too familiar to the federal government employee clerical help and contract armed guards who dwell very comfortably at that office — an office building which is currently appraised by the local tax office at nearly $1 million.  

At that local Social Security office, their posted work hours “available” to the public are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily; of course except on holidays, sick days, annual leave days, military leave days, family leave days, training days, weather days, federal holidays, other “approved” holidays, Saturdays and Sundays, or when there are special union organizing meetings or when the sun sets in the west.

I wonder if the armed guards on duty who “protect” the paper-shuffling staff and their building get time off to go to the range to “qualify” … just in case!  After all, you just never know about those very dangerous senior citizens who need to occasionally frequent the Social Security Office.

The history of the “camel’s nose under the tent” syndrome in my little semi-rural community is a study in government run amuck.

Thirty years ago, the Social Security office was located in a rented non-descript building that had previously served as a third-tier retail business and infrequently rented office space.

When the feds rented this otherwise difficult-to-rent building, this helped the local economy by generating rental funds and by keeping the property regularly occupied.

A few years later, the federal bureaucrats decided that the “staff” needed more space and the office operation was relocated to another third-tier building.  The building seemed adequate to this observer for both the staff and the public who needed to visit the local Social Security office at the time.

Now, the local Social Security Administration office building, parking lot, grounds, security fences, electronic gates and cameras rank among one of the costliest “first-tier” buildings in town — most certainly when looked at on a cost per employee basis who are actually physically there on-site and actually working.

Perhaps my little town is a microcosm of what is happening on the national level regarding the possibility of “tampering” with the bulging costs of this Social Security sacred cow.

It seems that President Obama’s recently created “Debt Commission” has Social Security and other fiscal “drains” on the discussion table to see if there are any savings that can be made by creating a more efficient “SS” administration.

Well, the Commission could start in my town by moving the Social Security office to a more appropriate (much less costly) work environment for federal government employees, by reducing staff, by eliminating extravagant employee benefits, and by taking effective measures to make sure that illegal aliens and other “illegals” are not robbing our Social Security funds through fraudulent means.

Thomas Jefferson must have envisioned both the IRS and the Social Security Administration when he admonished “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

Perhaps Jefferson was aware that a future “Debt Commission” would suggest creating a national sales tax to increase “needed” revenues to continue to pay for the wasted spending in the federal government.  That revenue-increasing “idea” is currently on the Debt Commission’s table.

Then again, perhaps Debt Commission Co-Chairman Erskine Bowles meant what he said recently that when it comes to the idea of entitlement program cuts, “If we’re going to be serious about balancing the federal budget and righting this fiscal ship, then we have got to have everything on the table, and that includes the entitlement programs.”

Recognizing the evils of debt, including a national debt, Thomas Jefferson suggested “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.  A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

Had we followed Jefferson’s advice, we probably would not be in the fiscal mess we are in today as a nation.

If Jefferson was correct when he said “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” then it probably is time to drastically cut federal government program costs, jobs and “inside the castle wall” employee benefits — and keeping the Social Security Administration at the top of the heap for cuts is the correct approach.

Senior citizens and others alike need to speak out about the waste that is observed at all levels of government — not just about Social Security.  Jefferson said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

History Making On Tax Day – April 15th

By:  Columnist Bob Grafe

Attention all senior citizens!

Did you check out today’s date?  It’s April 15th!  No it is not a holiday.  And, it certainly is not a holy day!

Please take note that it’s “that” day.  The true April Fools’ Day.  The day when the IRS masters whip their hard-working, income-earning slaves into “fork-over-the-cash” compliance through any and all means necessary.

Today is officially “Tax Day” across the land — the land of the free where everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

And, it’s the land where everyone, even senior citizens, have the privilege of paying taxes to support all of those “necessary” expenditures of “our” federal government.

I guess it must be legal to unleash the IRS thugs on everyone — at least “everyone” without the power to divert the collection agent’s attention.

The government’s addiction to taking assets from law-abiding citizens began with the introduction of the Revenue Act of 1861 to help fund the Civil War.  Imagine that.  What a novel idea.  Let’s tax the people so we can have a war — even a war of brother against brother.

That makes good sense!

So, let’s see.  What day should we require the payment of those taxes?  Perhaps the thirtieth day of June would work since we’d catch all those “rich” folks before they take off for their summer vacations.

Oops.  Maybe we goofed with this “tax the people” business.  The case of Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co.  questioned the constitutionality of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act of 1894.  That tax was at the rate of two-percent on any incomes over $4,000.

Gee.  The U.S. Supreme court in 1895 ruled that the Act’s unapportioned income taxes on interest, dividends, and rents were effectively direct taxes (as many had claimed), were in fact unconstitutional.  As many law-abiding citizens had claimed, the Act (approved by Congress) violated the Constitution’s rule that direct taxes had to be apportioned.

Well, that’s no problem.   Let’s just change the Constitution with one of those “amendment” things.

So, in 1913, with unbridled political impunity, similar to what one sees currently brewing in the political caldron affectionately known as “D.C.,” the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified providing Congress with the legal authority to tax all incomes without regard to the apportionment requirement found within the Constitution.

In that same year, March 1st was dictated as the deadline for paying taxes, changed again in 1918 to March 15th and finally changed to April 15th in 1955. 

Gosh.  There must have been some “good” things that have taken place in history that happened to fall on our now April 15th tax day.

Of course there have been.

On April 15th in 1992 billionaire Leona Helmsly was sent to prison for … uh … tax evasion.

Then again, on the same day in 1969 North Korea’s military shoots at a U.S. airplane above the Japanese Sea.  Maybe they just thought there was a tax evader on board?

Fidel Castro began his goodwill tour in the U.S. on April 15, 1959.  He doesn’t bother to even tax his citizens.  He just takes from them what the government needs.

Well, I guess that is sort of what is going on today with our federal government too.

On a happier note, the first B-52 Stratofortress made its maiden flight, using federal tax dollars to fuel the adventure, on tax day in 1952.

During that same year of 1952, and on April 15th, the Franklin National Bank issued the first bank credit card.  I think I still owe a small balance on that one.  But, I’m getting closer to paying it off!

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was buried on the grounds of his Hyde Park home on April 15, 1945.  And, Babe Ruth hit his first of 60 home runs of the season on “that” day in 1927.

The Titanic sank off Newfoundland on April 15, 1912 while the General Electric Company was formed and incorporated in New York on April 15, 1892.

Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865 after being shot hours earlier the previous day by actor John Wilkes Booth.

But, thank goodness for all of the madness brought about on “that” April 15th day.  Perhaps the inventor of the bottle opener (invented on April 15, 1738) foresaw the future troubles of “that” day.

See you at the post office close to midnight!

The Real Fools’ Day Is Yet To Come

By:  Columnist Bob Grafe

First Published:  April 1, 2010

April 1 is celebrated by senior citizens and others in much of the Western world with light-hearted pranks usually followed by the prankster saying “April Fools’ Day.” Allegedly begun in Europe during the Middle Ages, the day was first referred to as “All Fools’ Day.”

For IRS purposes in the United States, All Fool’s Day has now become April 15 and is anything but light-hearted.

As we approach the infamous “tax day” in mid-April, senior citizens are paying special attention to the “security” of their Social Security Administration which reportedly is now without sufficient funds to make payments to all contributors and others who have qualified for Social Security payments under current law.

While several local public school superintendents recently received large annual pay increases (placing their personal annual salary and benefits between $125,000 and $200,000) paid from funds taken from local taxpayers’ pocketbooks, senior citizens and others dependent on Social Security payments for much if not all of their livelihoods were provided with “no cost of living increase” for 2010 — with the government making it clear to all seniors and others that the cost of living “did not increase” one penny during 2009.

It is now very unclear whether or not senior citizens, having paid approximately 15 percent (both employee and employer contributions on behalf of the employee) of their gross salary (up to limits of now around the “first” $100,000) for all of their working lives, will be able to both claim and receive their Social “Security” payments during their retirement.

Move over in your federal prison cell Bernard “Bernie” Madoff, you may need to make room for those other money-grabbers working within our country’s various levels of government who have stolen the financial savings out from under the control of law-abiding senior citizens who now may no longer have the health or stamina to ever recover from the personal devastation of such a theft.

Regardless of what age you are now, if you live long enough you’ll become a senior citizen. (I recognize that the last sentence sounds very much like something that New York Yankees’ catcher Yogi Berra might have once said … and, he just might have!)

Regarding senior citizens who may rely heavily on their Social Security payments to just “get by,” it is very easy for some others with excessive financial means to say something like “Well, they all should have taken better care of their finances. Too bad.”

The old saying that those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks may soon come to pass for those making such statements or having such thoughts. Social Security is not the only “security” that is on the ropes for the citizens of the United States at the moment.

No, not at all.

If allowed to flourish, the current government’s move towards a redistribution of wealth may grab much of the financial “security” from almost everyone regardless of perceived financial strength.

So, what is a senior citizen to do (regardless of personal financial circumstances) while facing not only the real possibility of a very serious financial depression continuing for years, but also the maddening disturbance of an American culture that some in this country and elsewhere are trying to turn upside-down?

One of the first things to do is to quickly re-evaluate your close relationships with both friends and family members. The old irritations of the past may need to be forgotten while quickly strengthening new and old alliances to ensure the safety and tranquility for all within your personal group of relationships.

There is safety in numbers — especially with those of like-mindedness.

Included within your group’s goals should be a personal strengthening of your religious faith and a commitment to better communicate with your God on behalf of yourself and on behalf of others who may not have figured out this important tool of survival during these turbulent days.

There is another old, worn-out saying: “During war, there are very few atheists in fox-holes.” We all may have to become accustomed to Fox-Hole 2010 — and beyond.

While this column is being published on April 1, this certainly is no April Fools’ Day joke nor is it a prank.

Mrs. Rumbleheart And Henry David Thoreau Both Continue To Teach

By:  Columnist Bob Grafe

First Published:  March 18, 2010

Mrs. Rumbleheart, my fifth-grade public school teacher, was already within the ranks of “senior” citizenship the first day I entered her class at Lincoln School. Her classroom was in the typical style of “adequate for our needs” schools in the mid-1950s.

There was a cloakroom where our jackets, sweaters, hats and lunch boxes or bags were stored until needed. There were mostly individual wooden desks and a few double-occupant wooden tables with accompanying wooden chairs. The windows were wood-framed and the floor was wood.

The radiator for heat was situated along the window wall, the lights were incandescent, the ceilings were tall and there were inviting maps and pictures on the walls next to the blackboard. Air conditioning was never needed as the school was located one block from San Francisco Bay.

Behind Mrs. Rumbleheart’s large wooden desk were several book shelves where she housed her favorite works of literature together with a collection of history, geography, philosophy, art and science books and many reference materials.

One of the pictures on the wall next to her book shelves was that of an image of a well dressed gentleman, white shirt, bow-tie and boutonnière dated 1856.

At first view, I thought it was an image of President Abraham Lincoln — the namesake of the school. But, upon closer examination, the name underneath the image clearly read “Henry David Thoreau.”

Thoreau died before he reached his 45th year, but this American author, poet, naturalist, surveyor, historian and philosopher certainly understood much of the importance of living a long life and wrote about it beginning at a young age. Much of what he wrote certainly applies to those in their senior citizen years of life today.

Even though Mrs. Rumbleheart made a few passing comments about this “Henry” man, I’m sure that she knew that most fifth-graders (including me) would have never understood or appreciated much of what Mr. Thoreau wrote about — especially at that early age in our lives.

It wasn’t until much later in my life after I had read many of Thoreau’s writings, and after several sojourns to visit Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts specifically for the purpose of attempting to get the “feel” for the place that Thoreau wrote from and frequently wrote about, that I really began to understand much of what he had to say in his writings as being very applicable and helpful to our senior citizens today.

Today’s senior citizens frequently have the luxury of time to really study what is and what is not important in one’s life.

Here are some comments about life as seen through Thoreau’s eyes. See if they’re not still applicable today … nearly 150 years since they were first written.

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” Just think about how often we might think we “have to” do this or that when in reality we really do not and we would probably be better of by not doing “this or that.”

“Men have become the tools of their tools.” Yes, we’ve created many jobs for companies and public agencies in this life to help pay for the “things” that we have been taught that we “need,” but has the person in the job become nothing more than another tool to help create the widget that is sold to the public to help pay the wages of the worker who 8 to 10 hours each day effectively puts “tab A” into “slot B” and then sends the widget along its path to the next “tool?”

Do we really need the “things?” Or do we need to spend those 8 to 10 hours each day doing something that is much more meaningful while we’re on planet Earth?

“It is never too late to give up your prejudices.” We have often been reminded that our country is never more segregated than at around 11 a.m. every Sunday morning. It’s still not too late to change.

“That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.” There’s little worse than attempting to enjoy a $50 steak dinner on a $10 budget. Beyond money, the price we pay is just too great!

Keep that steak dinner in mind as you contemplate that Thoreau also taught that “The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” This quote make one wonder just how many of our current senior-citizen-age or younger politicians have bothered to read and/or study Thoreau’s teachings?

Keep these Thoreau teachings in mind when you try to “keep up” your image for whatever reason. “Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”

And, “Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them.” Perhaps most importantly, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

Mrs. Rumbleheart taught me many things that I have applied throughout my years. Her introduction of Henry David Thoreau to our class stands out in my mind as one of her more important teachings.

I’ll always be thankful to Thoreau, a wee bit before my time on Earth, but who taught eternal truths such as this: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Estate Planning Is A Life-Long Process

By:  Columnist Bob Grafe

March 4, 2010

When should senior citizens begin their estate planning?

Perhaps the better question should be “When should a senior citizen finish his or her estate planning?”

The correct answer is probably that true “estate” planning goes on forever throughout ones life.

The term “estate planning” has some puzzling interpretations.

If the term “estate” is essentially the “whole” of a persons property, then one could argue that estate planning starts the minute someone begins to gather “things” or “belongings” at an early age in life.

Some senior citizens are better at actually holding on to all of those life-long gathered possessions than others.

However, the end result of that holding onto process may not always be desirable.

It’s hard to accurately estimate just how many of our 31,025 days upon the earth (assuming that one lives to the mature age of say 85) are devoted to the estate “gathering” chore.

Suffice it to say that probably not enough days are spent in the actual estate “planning” process — a process that should actually be a work-in-progress throughout life.

This actual planning process is the antithesis of the typical later-in-life ritual of finally sitting down at the desk of a financial guru attempting to determine if you have managed to gather together enough material “stuff” in terms of financial wealth or assets to keep you going at the spending rate that you prefer until you are the guest of honor at your own wake.

The recent national, state and local news is filled with horror stories of those who tried to “get ahead” financially by investing in “high return” (and very high risk!) questionable financial schemes — only to find at the end of the day that there was no pot of gold at the end of the scheme’s enticing wealth-building rainbow.

While the clock of life ticked away for many chasing “the almighty dollar” in recent years, those attempting to build their excessive estates lost track of their real wealth in life — time — especially time with loved ones.

Time to experience the real joys of life without being saddled down with the burden of being an effective caretaker of “stuff” — stuff that seems to actually own you rather than the other way around.

I can think of many acquaintances who have spent way too much of their time on earth “protecting” their material assets — severely neglecting their personal relationships with friends and loved ones.

For example, take the elderly couple who spend hours each day searching their expansive land holdings just to make sure that no one else has ventured onto their “estate.”

It’s a common flaw in the financial planning process when one owns so much stuff that it takes all their limited waking hours just to make sure that no one else has taken something from them.

By the time their children and grandchildren have come and gone, it frequently is too late to build the relationships with those who we declare are the “loves of our lives.”

Would it not make better sense to create ones financial plan with the goal in mind of simply having “sufficient” for one’s needs — and to do some real soul searching to determine exactly what one actually “needs.”

After all, most senior citizens realize that the day will come when they will be that guest of honor mentioned earlier — when their life comes to an end here upon the earth.

It is very doubtful that our “needs” then will include any of that “stuff” that we affectionately refer to as our estate and have spent so much time gathering together during our limited days here.

Perhaps your financial planning includes leaving your vast estate to your children and/or grandchildren — wealth that is far beyond their actual needs.

While noble in appearance at first glance, it becomes questionable when you calculate the amount of their time on earth that you are saddling them with just so they can care for their inheritance — which is usually in the form of more “stuff.”

Senior citizens owe it to themselves, to their families and others to carefully complete the estate planning process with the end result providing them sufficient means for their needs with the remainder going towards well thought-out good works intended to be of real help to others.

Are Good Manners Becoming Passe

By:  Columnist Bob Grafe

First Published:  February 18, 2010

When today’s senior citizens were growing up, what was “in” then (especially with respect to manners and good behavior) apparently is “out” now.

Such things as manners and dress in the workplace, general civility in dealing with others, cell phone manners or etiquette, manners to refrain from public vulgarity, and even general respect or manners for and towards one’s God and country certainly have changed for the worse since most of today’s senior citizens were in their youth and young-adulthood.

To experience or to simply observe this general decline in our society, all one has to do is to frequent places where the public gathers en masse.

One is almost guaranteed to observe this decline taking place by simply turning on the television or radio or by visiting large retail or grocery establishments and fast-food restaurants, public schools, hospitals, many government offices, public parks, sporting events, movie theaters and certainly while driving one’s vehicle.

I was in a professional quasi-government office the other day when the receptionist, a very scantly clad near-middle-age woman put me “on hold” to take a telephone call from a friend on her personal cell phone.

Before I was “waited on,” her manager approached her, brushing by me and two other patrons to give the receptionist instructions on several letters that had many errors on them.

The manager never said “excuse me” to the patrons or to the receptionist. Perhaps she thought it was important for the general public to hear about the errors, as well as the receptionist.

This much younger manager was wearing torn (obviously on purpose by the tear’s location) blue jeans and cartoon characters painted on her finger nails. She also sported a partially exposed tattoo “enhancing” her neck.

Interestingly, the CEO of this organization dresses in appropriate business attire and always shows professional decorum when observed in public. The example for this organization was there, but the example was apparently not enough to affect the behavior of the staff.

While most medical offices seem to adhere to a high degree of manners with respect to what magazines they display in their waiting rooms, grocery stores certainly do not.

It certainly does not seem appropriate to me to have to drag my grandchildren through the near-porn magazine sections at check-out at most grocery stores.

Perhaps grocery stores would find it interesting to see how many customers would bypass the monthly magazine fold-out check-out stands if given an option of checking out at a porn-free check-out stand.

So, what do we do as senior citizens to “fix” what has gone wrong in the manners department of our society.

We can begin by not falling for and simply accepting the “new” lack of manners and civility in our society. We can stand up for good manners, good behavior and civility by demonstrating good behaviors ourselves.

Unfortunately, it is not enough to simply voice what is expected as basic good manners and behavior, we must demonstrate it consistently ourselves for others to see.

When I commented negatively on someone of senior citizen age being dressed in shorts and flip-flops at a funeral recently (a person that I knew to be normally appropriately dressed in public), I was redressed with the comment that “God doesn’t care what you dress in to worship him.”

I couldn’t agree with my critical friend more. If all that one has is cut-offs and flip-flops to attend a funeral, then his God will certainly bless him for being there. But, funerals are generally sacred in nature as are worship services. Perhaps it is safe to say that we might want to show respect and good manners by dressing for the occasion.

The worn-out statement, “You know pornography when you see it,” probably applies to what one wears in public as well.

It is very difficult to quantify every set of circumstances to determine what is appropriate to wear and what is not appropriate to wear.

But, it’s safe to say that you know if it’s appropriate to wear or not when you watch the reaction on the faces of others when you are first observed by them.

The public schools could go a long way towards improving manners and behavior by having a dress code similar to that of many parochial schools and by having all of their teachers following appropriate teacher-dress guidelines that are both spelled out and enforced by public school administrations.

Since “small” businesses, government offices and public schools seem to do a better job at teaching manners and good behaviors appropriate for their particular settings, they might become the models for the larger entities to follow.

Local senior citizens who sit on various boards of business and public interest entities should consider bringing the topics of manners and good behavior to their discussion agendas and by doing whatever is necessary to stop this decline.

Other seniors might consider noting when there needs to be an improvement in the way the public is being treated and to be proactive in bringing those needs to the individuals who can best make change happen … starting with themselves if needed.

Bad manners and behaviors are just bad habits. They can be changed for the good by creating good habits of manners and behavior. These are best learned by example and repetition.

Senior Citizens Do Leave A Legacy – One Way Or The Other

By:  Columnist Bob Grafe

First Published:  February 4, 2010

Have you noticed at about the same time you really need to be teaching your children or grandchildren something very important — they suddenly know more than you do?

They really don’t. But, just try convincing them of that. They’ll frequently set you straight with a form of “new-age” logic that has no resemblance to “old-age” logic.

Senior citizens, with their “old-age” logic, pick up on the communication “disconnect” between their own children and their children’s children far quicker than the actual parents usually do.

At times, it’s almost a Venus versus Mars relationship.

The combination of very busy lives while raising children and today having children who are being partly raised by Internet mentors, public school systems gone adrift, and popular movies and television programs that are anything but “reality,” provides for this ever-increasing generational parting of the way.

Is that a bad thing?

Absolutely!

Someone else may attempt to justify the new-age manner in which children are “trained” for adulthood — but in doing so they will surely fail to recognize the time-proven principles that best build the human muscle of personal ethics, morals and integrity.

Example! Example! Example!

Do senior citizens have any kind of responsibility to set an example of good for their grandchildren and/or their own children?

I would argue that we do if we recognize and want to help “fix” the ills of the society we are currently living within and to perhaps leave this world a little better than we found it — when we finally depart.

At some point in our lives, we realize that children learn best from the actual examples that we set. For the most part, senior citizen grandparents do a good job of being consistent in what they say and actually do.

As you know that is not always the case as you are progressing towards senior citizenship.

It’s not an easy sell to either children or grandchildren, for example, to simply tell them not to smoke cigarettes if you have a three-pack-a-day nicotine habit. Even new-age logic computes the hypocrisy in that scenario.

Even those well-intentioned parents who are convinced that their children “need” religion miss the point when they simply drop the kids off at the front door of the church and pick them up after services.

“Say your prayers” doesn’t have the same meaning to children if they’ve never heard their “teacher” actually pray.

Just “sampling” a few pieces of loose candy or grapes while shopping at the grocery store with our children or grandchildren in tow may just “set-up” (by example) a child for future shop-lifting charges for just “sampling” a few CDs.

While some academics (mostly preparing for mandatory tests these days) taught in the public schools may have application in the “making a living” department, they fall way short of the mark of excellence when it comes to the realities of life such as becoming a future good parent or a trustworthy, responsible and honest employee or business owner.

While attending public schools, where the existence of God, the actual study of the Constitution and the “un-modified” lessons in history are becoming rare, our children and grandchildren frequently miss out on the opportunity of leaning through the examples of good teachers and administrators who are true to their principles — but, limited by the demands of political correctness in their “school” setting.

When senior citizens go to the polls and vote in local, state and national elections (and they are very good at that), they are providing a tremendous example for their children and grandchildren to follow.

But, when seniors choose not to exercise their citizenship “duty” to vote, it is a sure bet that many of our grandchildren and children are watching — and learning from that example as well.

While we seniors still have the time and energy to “do something good,” it might be a wise decision to think through all of those significant actions that we take in our lives where we actually do set an example for our children and grandchildren.

Is it important to set an example of not eating too much ice cream or candy? Sure. That is probably an important health matter.

But, is that as important as teaching that one should always be honest in their dealings with their fellow-man and woman? Probably not.

For many of us seniors there is still plenty of time to provide excellent examples, high in the principles of ethics, morals and integrity, for at least those within our own immediate families and circle of friends.

What is the legacy you want to leave the generations who follow you?